Private: 2156 Henry Archibald TAYLOR.


Private: 2156 Henry Archibald TAYLOR.

Born: 1896. Surry Hills via Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:2512/1893.

Married: 1928. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:15599/1928. 

Wife: Ivy Taylor. nee: Martin.

Died: 1936. Redfern, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:711/1936.

Father: Henry Archibald Taylor

Mother: Sophia Taylor.


Henry Archibald Taylor enlisted with the AIF at the Goulburn Depot on the 3rd April 1916 where he was allocated to F Company 55th Battalion and was sent to Liverpool Camp before being transferred to the Rutherford Army Camp at West Maitland and re allocated to the 3rd Reinforcements 35th Battalion AIF on the 5th May 1916. Henry went into training at Rutherford and en trained to Sydney where the Reinforcements embarked on board HMAT A 68 "Anchises" on the 24th August and disembarked at Devonport, England on the 11th October 1916. The Reinforcements were marched in the the 9th Training Battalion at the Durrington Army Camp at Larkhill.  


Henry proceeded overseas for France via Folkstone on the 15th February 1917 on board the S.S. Princess Victoria.

S.S. Princess Victoria.

Wounded in Action 3 times.

7th June 1917.


The 3rd Australian Divisions first major offensive was at Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917. The Australian 3rd Division was a part of the II Anzac Corps which was allotted to the first assault. The 25th New Zealand, 3rd Australian Division with the 4th Australian Division in reserve. The 4th Division were battle hardened troops who had fought many major battles.The 3rd Australian Division were having problems getting to the "jump off" point. The day before the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades were bombarded by German Gas-Shells around Hill 63 and Ploegsteert Wood. Many of the Aussies were not wearing gas masks, but despite this they pressed on even though they received 500 casualties.

They made it to the "jump off" point but only just with some of the men from the 9th and 10th going straight over the top without stopping. The mines went up and the attack commenced behind a protective barrage. The II Anzac Corps were attacking on the right with their objective being the southern shoulder of the ridge which included Messines, the Dover and St Yves areas as far south to the east of Ploegsteert Wood.

Major General Sir John MONASH's 3rd Division had to contend with a tricky 3 mile approach out of Ploegsteert Wood and after the German gas attack, but they were not deterred. The 9th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General: Alexander JOBSON and the 10th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General W R NICHOLL had just made the jumping off point but some of the men did not stop, going straight into the assault from the approach march.

Their objective lay between St Yves and the Douve. The mines at Trench 127 and Trench 12 at Factory Farm were laid to aid this task. The explosions erupted a few seconds before zero hour and created craters of 200 feet in diameter, completely obliterating the German defense line as the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades went over the top. The mine crates forced the 9th and 10th Brigades to veer to the left and right which caused some confusion with the main assault. It is testimony to the quality of training that every man knew the ground, tasks and objectives so well.

Private: 1804 John CARROLL 33rd Battalion, rushed the enemy's trench and bayoneted four of the German occupants. He then noticed a comrade in difficulties and went to his assistance, killing another German. He then attacked single handed a German Machine Gun Team, killing all three of them and capturing the gun. He later rescued two of his comrades who had been buried alive by German Shell Fire, and in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun fire he dug them out alive and saved them from certain death. John was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The German forward zone was completely engulfed and taken by the main assault. The two supporting battalions of each brigade then passed the leading battalion to continue the advance. The men were constantly re-supplied and the ridge was taken. There were many German prisoners taken during the offensive. The 3rd Division was well ahead with the 9th Infantry Brigade pushing on beyond Grey Farm, and on the right the 10th Infantry Brigade were veering left towards Septieme Barn north of Douve.

The German resistance was heavy but was generally brushed aside by tanks and artillery before the infantry had to become too involved.The 4th Bavarian Divisions Artillery had made little impact, but as the day wore on the 3rd Division and later the 4th Australian Division received many casualties from German artillery. (70% of all casualties during WW1 were from artillery).

By 9:00 am nearly 6 hours after the assault began the Germans were in dissaray, but there was a major problem as the Australians received less casualties as anticipated and when ordered to dig into the ridge they had so many men, that some could not find shelter. the 35th battalion were dug in around Seaforth Farm.

The second phase of the operation was to take the Oosttaverne Line. The 3rd Australian Division would now be in reserve with the 4th Division attacking. The 9th Infantry Brigade (33-34-35-36Bn) were near Thatched Cottage facing Warneton. The river Lys was to their right and the Ploegsteert Wood was now behind them.

Once their objectives were taken the troops consolidated. A barrage to stop and counter attack was shortened and caught three battalions which had to retire. By 9:00 pm this part of the Oosttaverne Line was abandoned. At 10:45 pm General: Alexander John GODLEY ordered the 3rd and 4th Divisions to retake it. This they did by the early hours of the 8th of June.

The Battle for Messines Ridge during May-June 1917 saw 35 officers and 1,631 other ranks loose their lives.

9th Infantry Brigade Casualties.

33rd Battalion. AIF 8 Officers 382 Other ranks
34th Battalion. AIF 10 Officers 378 Other ranks
35th Battalion. AIF 5 Officers 431 Other ranks
36th Battalion. AIF 9 Officers 421 Other ranks
9th Machine Gun Company. AIF 2 Officer 17 Other ranks
9th Light Trench Mortar Battery. 1 Officer 2 Other ranks

Field Dressing Station, Messines 07/06/1917

FIELD DRESSING STATION, MESSINES 7th June 1917. 12th June 1917


4th-5th October 1917.

Zouelecke. 35th Battalion relieved and go by motor to Winnezeele Camp. Casualties during period at Zouelecke 81- including 18 Killed.

Private: 3142 Cyril ELLIOTT. 35th BN AIF. Killed in Action Belgium. 05/10/1917.

35th Battalion War diary

Henry was Wounded in Action; 2nd occasion on the 4th October 1917 when he received a Gun Shot Wound ti his Neck "Severe" and was treated by the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance before he was evacuated to the 18th General Hospital for further treatment and was invalided to England on board the Hospital Ship H.S. "Essequibo" on the 14th October.

Hospital Ship "Essequibo"

Henry was invalided to England where he was admitted to the 5th General Southern Hospital. Whilst back in England Henry was Charged Failed to have hair cut when ordered to do so. Forfeit 12 Days Pay by order Captain: BARNES on the 22nd August 1918.

Henry proceeded overseas for France via Folkstone on the 6th September 1918  and moved into the lines at CLERY sur SOMME. On the 29th September the Battalion woke to Reveille at 4 am and breakfast at 4.30 am. It was a fine day and the Battalion moved forward at 6 am and took overland tracks as roads were for wheeled traffic only. Had 1/2 hour spell before crossing LEMPIRE ROAD.

Lewis guns were unloaded from limbers and carried from here. Got to assembly position at 9.30 am and  came under heavy Machine Gun Fire. Took cover in old trenches. Airplane flying very lowwas enganged with Lewis Gun and Rifle Fire and brought down. Fair amount of shelling. Battalion HQ was located at derelict tank where the C/O dug in underneath it. Rained during the evening.

35th Battalion Diary 

Front Line of the 35th Battalion 1/9/1918

Henry was Wounded in Action; 3rd Occasion on the 29th September at GILLEMONT FARM and was treated by the 11th Australian Field Ambulance for Gun Shot Wound to his Back and Leg Contusions. He was carried by Stretcher Bearers to the Casualty Clearing Station for further treatment and was evacuated to the 72nd General Hospital.

Henry received further treatment and remained in France after he was discharged and sent to the Rest Depot before returning to the Battalion on the 3rd December where he remained until the 34th Quota was called on the 16th April 1919 when he returned to England.

Henry returned to Australia on the 11th August 1918 and was discharged from the AIF on the 1st April 1921.

Henry's British War Medal:55874 and Victory Medal:54319 to PTE 2156 H A TAYLOR 35BN AIF (Mick Fisher Collection)

Family Information

Henry was a single 22 year old Plumber from Botany Road, Alexandria, N.S.W. upon enlistment with the AIF. His sister Emily Hunt was recorded as his next of kin.

Military Records

© Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)

Under Construction: 04/04/2018.

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